What is the best lectin-free protein powder?
Written by Jack Schrupp and reviewed by Ella McGonagle, M.S. Nutrition
drink wholesome is the best lectin-free protein powder. It is additive-free, dairy-free, and made with real foods, not protein isolates – 99% of supplements fail to meet at least one of these criteria. This makes it perfect for people with gut issues and sensitive stomachs, as well as for people just looking to boost their protein intake without the processing and added junk. Order samples to see if our protein powder is right for you.
“If you have a sensitive gut, you need simple ingredients.”
-Brittany Carpenter, MS, RDN/LDN
drink wholesome is the best lectin-free protein powder.
What are lectins?
Lectins are proteins that bind to carbohydrates. They are found in all plants, but raw legumes like beans, peas, and peanuts and whole grains like wheat contain the highest amounts.
Are lectins bad?
Lectins have received a lot of bad press in recent years with popular media outlets citing them as a leading cause of obesity, chronic inflammation, and autoimmune disease. Although there may be some truth to these claims, there is very limited research into the long-term health effects of lectin consumption in humans. What we do know about lectins mostly has to do with digestion.
In nature, lectins protect plants against external pathogens such as fungi and other organisms. The same characteristics that lectins use to defend plants also make them hard to digest. They are stable in acidic environments (i.e. the stomach), and resist being broken down in the gut. It follows that when consumed, lectins in their active state can cause uncomfortable side effects. For instance, eating just a small amount of raw kidney beans can cause bloating, diarrhea, gas nausea, stomach pain, and even vomiting. This is why most legumes are soaked and cooked before eating. Soaking and cooking inactivates lectins, which are water-soluble and typically found on the outside of the plant.
It is important to note that there are different types of lectins, and that different people react to lectins differently. People with digestive diseases like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), for example may be more likely to experience symptoms after eating lectins. If you have gut issues or a sensitive stomach, you may therefore want to consider reducing your consumption of lectin-rich foods. That said, in many large population studies, foods high in lectins like legumes, whole grains, and nuts are associated with weight loss and a decreased risk of chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Keeping these foods in your diet is thus probably a good idea.
Does protein powder contain lectins?
Most protein supplements do not contain many lectins. That said, to play it safe, I recommend avoiding pea and soy proteins, as peas and soybeans are lectin-rich legumes. Some people will tell you that you have to be careful with animal proteins like whey and eggs because many cows and chickens are fed grains and legumes, but this is not true. There may be trace amounts of lectins in animal products, but they are so small that they are nothing to worry about. To be honest, lectins are not really something that you should be concerned about when buying protein powder; there are plenty of other ingredients that are far worse.
What is the best lectin-free protein powder?
Because all plants contain lectins, the best lectin-free protein powder must be 100% animal based. This means no plant-based flavors, sweeteners, or additives of any kind.
If you are new to protein powder, you should know that there are 3 main types of animal-based protein powder: whey and casein (milk), collagen (beef), and egg whites (eggs). Of the 3, egg white protein powder is my top choice for several reasons.
For starters, egg white protein tastes better. Milk and beef do not naturally contain enough protein to be used as protein powder, and must be stripped of everything (fats, carbs. etc.) but the protein. For this reason, whey, casein, and collagen protein powders have a chalky aftertaste. Egg whites, on the other hand, are naturally high in protein, and require minimal processing to become protein powder. Consequently, they have a neutral flavor and smooth mouth-feel.
Because it is minimally-processed, egg white protein powder is also gut-friendly. This is the main reason why it is my top choice, and I encourage you to continue reading to learn more.
Why drink wholesome?
drink wholesome is additive-free.
One of the reasons why we make the best lectin-free protein powder is that we do not use food additives. Unlike most other protein powder companies, we steer clear of emulsifiers, thickeners, artificial sweeteners, and flavors, which are known to cause side effects like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, and stomach pain.
Additives, because they do not look like real food, are hard to digest. In fact, most of them cannot be completely digested, and spend more time in your gut than food is supposed to. This can cause your gut to absorb excess water, which leads to diarrhea, or feed your hungry gut bacteria, which produce gas. Excessive gas can trigger uncomfortable symptoms like bloating, flatulence, stomach pain, and even constipation.
Here is a list of the most common food additives in protein powder:
acacia gum, acesulfame potassium, artificial flavors, aspartame, carrageenan, cellulose gum, dextrin, dextrose, erythritol, gellan gum, guar gum, gum arabic, inulin, locust bean gum, “natural” flavors, maltodextrin, rice syrup solids, soy lecithin, silica, sucralose, sunflower lecithin, xanthan gum, xylitol
As unpleasant as bloating and diarrhea are, the real reason to avoid food additives lies in their long-term impacts. Regularly eating additives can disrupt regulatory pathways in your intestines, raising the risk of developing serious conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other systemic inflammatory disorders. Furthermore, additives, especially artificial sweeteners, can damage your gut microbiome, which plays a vital role in food digestion and nutrient absorption.
Protein Matrix Comprised of (Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Isolate, Calcium Caseinate, Micellar Casein, Milk Protein Isolate, Egg Albumen, Glutamine Peptides), Polydextrose, Sunflower Creamer (Sunflower Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Caseinate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Soy Lecithin, Tocopherols), Natural and Artificial Flavor, MCT Powder (Medium Chain Triglycerides, Nonfat Dry Milk, Disodium Phosphate, Silicon Dioxide), Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Yellow 5, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Papain, Bromelain
drink wholesome is dairy-free.
Another reason why we make the best lectin-free protein powder is that we do not use dairy-based proteins. In contrast, many other protein powders use whey and/or casein protein, which come from the production of cheese and yogurt. While these dairy-based proteins might be lectin-free, they are notorious for triggering digestive problems, particularly for the one-third of adults who suffer from lactose intolerance. Individuals with lactose intolerance lack the necessary enzymes to fully break down lactose, the sugar in dairy. As you now know, the incomplete digestion of lactose can lead to undesirable gastrointestinal symptoms.
drink wholesome is made with real foods.
A final reason why we make the best lectin-free protein powder is that we do not use protein concentrates or isolates. Virtually all other lectin-free protein powders are made with one or both of these protein sources. Instead of being labeled as “peas” or “whey,” concentrates and isolates are listed as “pea protein” or “whey protein.”
The manufacturing process behind producing protein concentrates and isolates is extensive, and involves both mechanical and chemical processing. In some cases, chemical solvents like hexane are used to extract the protein, resulting in a product that looks little to nothing like real, whole food.
Your digestive system is naturally designed to handle minimally-processed or unprocessed whole foods, not artificial substitutes. Consuming anything other than real food can lead to a range of unpleasant side effects. Although the long-term effects of consuming processed ingredients like protein isolates are still being studied, emerging evidence suggests that they may disrupt the delicate balance of your gut microbiome.
As you know, the gut plays a vital role in digestion, acts as a protective barrier against harmful pathogens, contributes to immune system education, and influences various physiological processes. Disturbances to the gut microbiome have been strongly associated with the development of numerous chronic illnesses. I therefore strongly advise against the use of protein powders made with protein concentrates and isolates. Opt for whole, real food protein sources instead.
Instead of using protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best lectin-free protein powder with egg whites. Egg whites undergo a simple process of pasteurization and drying, making them a natural, easily digested alternative to protein isolates and concentrates. For individuals without egg allergies or sensitivities, egg white protein is actually the best choice for promoting gut health. Low in fiber, low FODMAP, and naturally alkaline, egg whites are a gut-friendly source of complete protein. Our happy customers often report fewer digestive issues when consuming our egg white protein powder than when consuming any other protein supplement.
“I was looking for a lectin-free protein powder and found this one. It’s perfect for adding to smoothies as it mixes great (not grainy at all). I also love that it’s just 1 ingredient.” – Chase
drink wholesome makes the best lectin-free protein powder.